DNA testing would be the primary tool to be used for confirming whether the missing pilgrims from Andhra Pradesh were among the unidentified bodies found after floods abated in Uttarakhand.
It has been a month now since the rains and flood had devastated the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand and left thousands dead and many more missing.
Among those missing in Uttarakhand, 87 people are from Andhra Pradesh, of which 13 have been announced dead, based on the information provided by the family members and relatives, who witnessed their death.
The search for the 74 missing persons from the state had so far yielded no result.
Several thousands of people from the state went on ‘Char Dham’ pilgrimage to Uttarakhand and of them several got stranded in different parts of the state. The official figures for those, who got stranded was put at 2,800. After a mammoth rescue effort by the Army and para-military forces for nearly a fortnight, majority of the stranded pilgrims from the state were rescued and shifted back to their native places.
With deadline to locate the missing persons ending Monday, Uttarakhand government has decided to initiate the process of dispensing the ex gratia announced. However, Uttarakhand chief minister Vijay Bahuguna refused to declare the missing as dead and said the search will continue.
A higher official from the department of disaster management said that the bodies found in Uttarakhand were subjected to autopsy and the data of the DNA of each body is being cataloged. The bodies were also videographed for reference purpose.
Now, once the list of the missing persons is sent to Uttarakhand government, the officials might seek DNA sampling of the immediate family members of the missing pilgrims.
It is to confirm if the missing pilgrims from the state were among the thousands of bodies found.
‘’DNA would be the main tool used to authentically establish the identity of the person. The other means of identifying the bodies like identity marks on the person, any personal belongings found on the body, when it was found etc would also be of much help,’’ the official said.